Two weeks ago, Russian oppressor Vladimir Putin raided Ukraine. Since that time, thousands have died, including civilians. Ukraine is under heavy attack from all directions, most intense in the east.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky asked Ukrainians to stay home and defend their country. Male citizens between 18 to 60 are not permitted to leave. Zelensky also asked any foreigners willing to fight for Ukraine who have previous military experience to enlist.
A growing number of American veterans are answering that call to join the Ukrainian Legion for a variety of different reasons.
Meet Hector from Tampa Bay
One of the American veterans signing up to fight for Ukraine is Hector from Tampa Bay, Florida. After two blood-soaked tours serving in Iraq with the US Marine Corps, Hector found non-military work and tried to leave the memories behind.
Though now, he will bear arms again, thousands of miles from American soil, because he says “people need help” and he has the skills to do it.
In particular, Hector wants to help show Ukrainians various techniques that he specializes in, including the use of heavy weaponry and driving heavy armor vehicles.
Hector says he has a “call” to fight for what’s right and doing “nothing” would hurt him more than enlisting.
Another part of why he’s going is Afghanistan. Hector says watching it “fall apart” really crushed him and he doesn’t want to sit by this time while another country falls into the fire.
Hector is far from alone.
Ukraine FM Kuleba – Sunday
The number of foreign applicants (to fight with Ukraine) is “approaching 20,000,”
“Experienced veterans and volunteers from 52 countries of the world come to us. This is their desire"https://t.co/2syAN9DxsW
— Tom T. ن® 🇺🇦 (@VRWCTexan) March 6, 2022
More and More Vets Are Joining Up
There are no better people in the world than American military veterans. Anyone who has friends, family, or loved ones who have served knows this for a fact. These brave men and women are now signing up to help Ukraine survive its onslaught.
Take US Army officer David Ribardo from Pennsylvania, who says he’s watched many other veterans get ready to join the fight. He can’t go himself, but Ribardo says he’s been helping many get their passports and documents in order to go through a group he called Volunteers for Ukraine.
This group helps vets find out where they’re most needed in Ukraine and get money for new equipment, airfare, and expenses. Ribardo said the response has been “overwhelming” and he had “too many” people wanting to go at first.
Part of the job of helping vets get over to Ukraine has been to sift out those who haven’t seen combat and those who are not vets, but just think it would be “interesting” to go into a warzone.
They will be dead weight and get people killed; so they won’t be going. Vets with real experience and skills, including medical and combat, however, will be going.
Arriving in Poland. On our plane a mother coming to try to get her 14 year old son out of Ukraine and 6 US veterans heading in because “it’s the right thing to do” #ukrainecrisis pic.twitter.com/nPluPI1W5o
— Romilly Weeks (@romillyweeks) March 3, 2022
How Many Veterans Are Joining Up?
Ribardo says his group is just like “Tinder for veterans.”
Because GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites don’t allow money to be directed toward combat or violence, any money raised goes to equipment, tickets, and non-deadly supplies.
According to Zelensky, 16,000 foreigners from around the world have joined up in the fight to defend Ukraine. Foreign Minister Kuleba says the amount is now closer to 20,000.